GUEST ESSAY: Skeptical about buying life insurance online? Here’s how to do it — securely

By Cynthia Madison

Purchasing life insurance once meant going to an insurer’s office or booking an appointment with an insurance agent. Then, in most cases, you’d have to undergo a medical examination and wait a few weeks to get approved and complete the whole process. But this scenario doesn’t seem to fit the fast-paced world we live in anymore. Today’s generation is used to getting everything done fast and easy, so life insurance providers had to get with the times and cover all customers’ needs and requirements.

Related: Life insurance types explained

From shopping to socializing or paying their bills, people seem to be doing everything online these days, so it was only a matter of time until insurance companies stepped into the digital world. Now everyone has the possibility to purchase life insurance from the comfort of their home by simply going online and looking for the policies that will fit their needs. Even major life insurance companies have stepped up their game and now provide a variety of online resources to cater to all consumers.

But with all the convenience also came concern. Some are still reluctant to purchase life insurance online for safety reasons and because they’re still unfamiliar with the steps they should follow. When you search for life insurance online, you’re on your own, with no one to guide you through the process, so how can you be sure you won’t make any costly mistakes? Here we’re going to tackle these issues and more to help you make an informed decision if you decide to buy life insurance online.

The pros

Apart from providing a hassle-free process, there are other notable advantages to buying life insurance online. For one, online platforms give you the possibility to compare insurance options from different providers, something that’s not possible if you go the traditional route. Different companies will offer different prices for the same type of policy, so you’ll have to do your research if you want to find the best option. Online tools make it easier for you to compare insurance companies, weigh the pros and the cons of different life insurance policy types and draw your conclusions, so you can choose the policy that works for you.

Madison

Life insurance companies that run their operations online can also cut down on infrastructure costs. With operating costs reduced, companies can offer customers cheaper prices for the same policies that offline companies provide at higher costs.

Customers also have the possibility to read reviews and opinions from other clients who have purchased policies from the online insurer they’re interested in and learn more about the services it provides. When using other channels, they wouldn’t have access to this type of information.

What’s more, when purchasing life insurance policies online, you can get larger covers. Companies that operate both online and offline tend to provide higher life covers online for the same type of policy because internet users are thought to have a better financial situation and thus better health.

The cons

We’ve analyzed the advantages, now it’s time to look at the other side of the coin. The first major drawback to take into consideration is the fact that online insurers have a kind of one-size-fits-all approach, meaning they offer standard policies that you won’t be able to customize to fit your own needs and there’s little room left for negotiation.

Apart from that, certain online policies don’t give you the possibility to include riders to your plan such as accidental death or waiver of premium. If you want to enjoy these extra benefits, you’ll have to get them separately, so you’ll end up paying more.

Another important aspect is that some people might have a hard time analyzing the options and deciding which one is best, so they could really use the guidance provided by an insurance agent which they can’t get online.

Tips to stay safe

As you’ve seen, there are both advantages and disadvantages to purchasing life insurance online. But if you’ve decided to opt for online life insurance, it’s important to know how to protect yourself and navigate the process safely.

•Evaluate your needs.  Before you start searching for life insurance policies online, you must have a clear understanding of your financial situations and personal circumstances. Take into account any changes you might foresee in the future. Calculate your monthly budget and decide how much you can pay for life insurance. Then you must decide what type of life insurance policy will suit you. It all comes down to your lifestyle and your needs. Ask yourself what you need life insurance for, how much coverage you require, what extra benefits you’re interested in etc. Answering these questions will help you find the best option for you.

•Shop around. Once you’ve decided on the type of policy you want to purchase, you can start looking at insurance companies and the offers they provide. Take your time and compare as many online insurers as possible. Ask for quotes and analyze the products and their features thoroughly, before coming to a conclusion.

•Affirm the website is secure. When you’ve found what you were looking for, you can usually start the application process right away. But before you share any personal information with the online insurer, it’s recommended to check if the website is secure. Look for the site’s security certificate (SSL) to confirm it’s legitimate. If the website is not secure, you shouldn’t proceed with the process.

•Review all the details. You’ll probably receive the details of the insurance you’ve applied for by email. Even if you went through all the information before, you should still review every detail carefully once again. Make sure all the data is correct and everything is clear. If you still have any uncertainties, most companies will provide assistance over the phone, so don’t hesitate to ask for further clarification. After all your questions have been answered and you’re confident you’ve made the right decision, you can finally purchase the life insurance policy.

About the essayist. Cynthia Madison has a degree in computer science. She writes technology articles that help people navigate the Internet safely.

 

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